THE Department of Education has ruled out any plans to build a new secondary school in Kinsale, despite the fact that it relies on just one school to cater for post primary school needs.
Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard recently raised the issue in the Seanad and pointed out that currently there are 12 primary schools feeding into the post-primary destination of Kinsale, but that it only has one post-primary school, Kinsale Community School, which has 1,326 students.
He pointed out that the population of Kinsale is projected to increase to 7,342 by 2028 and that pupils from schools in Dunderrow, Ballinadee, Ballinspittle, Belgooly, Minane Bridge, Nohoval, Kilbrittain and Ballyheada go to Kinsale for post-primary school.
‘There has been savage growth in the school over the last few years and while it is a high-class school, it is also the only one. Other towns have a similar population but have more schools. Bandon is slightly bigger but has four post-primary schools, while Carrigaline, which is significantly bigger, also has four post-primary schools,’ said Sen Lombard.
‘There is very much a need for choice and we need to plan ahead and take into consideration the projected growth in the county development plan and the growth in the villages around Kinsale. We need to strategically plan for educational infrastructure for Kinsale.’
Sen Lombard stated that the Department of Education must come up with a long term vision for the town that incorporates the entire hinterland as well.
However, Minister of State for Public Procurement, Ossian Smyth, said that the current demographic data indicates that the peak enrolment year in the Kinsale school planning area is projected to be in 2024, when it will have 1,393 pupils and that subsequent enrolments are projected to decrease to 1,225 by 2028.
He said that the Department has recently sanctioned further accommodation for Kinsale Community School, consisting of 10 mainstream classrooms and two science labs and other ancillary accommodation and that these, when completed, will cater for a minimum of 1,350 pupils on the school site. This follows from another project approved last year for the provision of 12 mainstream classrooms in modular accommodation.
‘The Department, therefore, has no plans to provide a further post-primary school in Kinsale. The requirement, however, for additional school places is kept under ongoing review,’ said Deputy Smyth.